Ever tried Bobotie?

28th January 2017 Blogs

Since we have just come back from our travels around South Africa we thought it would be fun to bring back a little sunshine and share our recipe for the national dish of Bobotie with you.

Of the many dishes common to South Africa, Bobotie is definitely the closest to being the official national dish because it isn’t commonly found in any other country. Pronounced ba-boor-tea, the dish is a delicious mixture of curried meat and fruit with a creamy egg based golden topping.

The recipe actually originates from the Dutch East India Company colonies in Batavia, with the name derived from the Indonesian bobotok. This curried mince dish has been an integral part of South African cuisine for centuries and not only does it embrace delicious local flavours but also the exotic flavours that spice traders brought to the Cape on their travels.

Bobotie is probably more accurately a Cape Malay creation and they spice it up even more with cumin, coriander and cloves, a similar dish was known in Europe in the middle ages after the traders had brought back turmeric from the East. When the first Dutch settlers arrived, Holland was largely influenced by Italian cooks and a favourite dish was hashed meat with curried sauce, flavoured with red pepper and sweetened with blanched almonds.

There are many local variations of Bobotie but the mince should always be tender and creamy in texture, which does mean a long, slow cooking time is essential. Early versions included the addition of a little tamarind water but the zesty addition of lemon rind and juice is a more modern adaptation. Of course there are as many different versions of Bobotie recipes, our own version uses minced lamb and fairly mild curry spices along with the addition of essential exotic fruits and nuts.

We hope that you like it as much as we do, especially good if served with Springfontine pinotage 2103 made on a small vineyard just outside Stamford in the overberg region of the western cape.